The Top 15 Heroes and Villains of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR - We Are Movie Geeks

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The Top 15 Heroes and Villains of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

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Marvel's Captain America: Civil War L to R: Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Winter S

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
L to R: Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Winter S

Are you all ready to head to the multiplex this weekend for the latest action epics from the ever-expanding Marvel Studios movie universe? Well, you will be after running through this top ten, nay fifteen, list of all those involved! So, face front true believers! Here goes…
15. Crossbones AKA Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo)
THE COMICS: Brock was introduced as a childhood fan of the Red Skull who became an assassin working for his hero in Captain America #360 (1989)
THE FILMS: We first saw him as a SHIELD agent (and undercover HYDRA operative) in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014). During the battle over Washington DC, Rumlow appeared to perish in the collapsing SHIELD HQ building after taking on the Falcon. But a team of surgeons saved the scarred killer. Is he seeking revenge against Cap and his allies Now?
14. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt)
THE COMICS: Army General “Thunderbolt” Ross was chasing down the “green goliath’ in his premiere appearance in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962). Locating and destroying the Hulk became his “Ahab-like” obsession, even when he learned that the creature was really the learned Dr. Bruce Banner, the boyfriend of the general’s daughter Betty. Much later Ross became the brutal Red Hulk.
THE FILMS: Sam Elliott first played Ross on screen in Ang Lee’s HULK (2003). When Marvel Studios produced THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008), Hurt took over. When last we saw him, Ross was enjoying a cocktail when Tony Stark waltzed into the bar to inquire about the Hulk’s whereabouts. In the trailers for the new film, Ross is out of uniform. Perhaps he has embarked on a new career. From the looks of things, Ross seems none too pleased with our heroes.
13. Zemo (Daniel Bruhl)
THE COMICS: Baron Zemo was one of Hitler’s top scientists when Captain America destroyed his ultimate invention “Adhesive X”. The glue splashed over his protective mask, welding it to his face permanently. Later Zemo’s crew captured Cap and Bucky and strapped them to a drone plane. Young Bucky was supposedly killed in an explosion that sent Cap plunging into the icy waters of the Atlantic. All this was shown in The Avengers #4 (1964). When the Captain was rescued and thawed, Zemo came out of hiding in South America and later formed the Masters of Evil.
THE FILMS: CIVIL WAR marks the first screen appearance of Zemo (no word whether he has been stripped of the royal title).  Reports indicate that he may be the catalyst for the clash of heroes.
12. Agent 13 AKA Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp)
THE COMICS: Carter was first seen as a SHIELD courier targeted by Batroc the Leaper in Tales of Suspense #75 (1966). Captain America came to her aid and they were later paired up on many SHIELD missions. Cap soon learned that Sharon was the niece of his great World War II love Peggy Carter. Over the years he became romantically involved with Sharon.
THE FILMS: In CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Sharon was deep undercover posing as Steve’s neighbor until an attack by the Winter Soldier forced her to reveal her mission. Later Sharon proved to be a skilled ally when HYDRA took over SHIELD’s control center. Will she reveal her family origins to Steve in the new film? Now a CIA agent, who will she side with, him or Tony?
11. Prince T’Challa AKA Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
THE COMICS: T’Challa, the prince of the hidden, scientifically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda, left his homeland to challenge and later aid the FF in Fantastic Four #52 (1966). He possesses many of the traits of a deadly jungle cat and is a formidable warrior, devoted to the protection of his country. Later he would prove to be a valued member of the Avengers.
THE FILMS: This is the hero’s first screen appearance, although Wakanda was mentioned by vibranium smuggler Ulysses Klaue in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015). In the trailer it seems that the Panther is on Team Tony, especially in his pursuit of the Winter Soldier.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

10. Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
THE COMICS: The wall-crawling wonder exploded on the comics scene in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962). High school student Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, which gave him enhanced arachnid abilities (super strength, adherence to all surfaces, etc.). After an attempt to profit from his powers led to tragedy, Peter donned his costume to fight crime, even though he is wanted by the authorities (and despised by a newspaper publisher). Though a loner, Spidey has at times been a charter Avenger.
THE FILMS: After a lengthy exhaustive legal battle, Sony Pictures finally got the screen rights to Marvel’s biggest star and released his first feature, SPIDER-MAN, starring Tobey Maguire, in 2002. It’s huge success quickly lead to SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004) and SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), all directed by Sam Raimi. The franchise was “rebooted” by director Marc Webb with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012) and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2014), starring Andrew Garfield. Now after many negotiations, Sony has teamed with Marvel Studios on a relaunch that will integrate Spidey into the Marvel movie universe, hence his role here. And after seeing him snatch away cap’s shield with his webbing, it looks like Petey’s is on Tony’s team!

9. Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)
THE COMICS: Scientist Hank Pym perfected the formula for shrinking via the “Pym Particles” in Tales to Astonish #27 (1962). Donning a helmet that enabled him to control and communicate with ants, Pym fought crime alongside fiancée Janet Van Dyne as Ant-Man and the Wasp. The two were founding members of the Avengers. After some adjustments to his formula, Pym became the towering Giant-Man. He retired from heroics to focus on his science work until desperate dad Scott Lang stole his Ant-Man suit and formula in The Avengers #181 (1979). After Lang was pardoned (he did it to save his daughter), he became the new Ant-Man and joined the Avengers.
THE FILMS: Lang’s story was told in last year’s ANT-MAN . He and the Falcon fought over a piece of Pym tech stored at Avengers HQ, but by the movie’s end, Sam Wilson was trying to track down the hero. From the trailer it seems that Sam has successfully recruited Scott for Team Cap.
8. Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
THE COMICS: Wanda began her comic career as villain. Really a reluctant one alongside twin brother Pietro (Quicksilver) as part of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4 (1964). Later the twins fled the group to reform their ways and become Avengers. While Quicksilver left, the Scarlet Witch was a powerful member of the team, often paired with future hubby the Vision.
THE FILMS: Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were seen briefly in a mid-credits scene at the conclusion of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. The two were held captive in the lab of Baron Strucker’s castle fortress. In AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON, the duo escaped after using their powers against the heroes. Vowing revenge for the destruction of their Sokovian home, they later teamed with Ultron. However, they soon learned of the android’s true plot and defected to the Avengers. When Pietro perished during the battle, Wanda decides to stay on with the team. In the trailers she’s a strong ally to Cap.
7. The Vision (Paul Bettany)
THE COMICS:  The first hero sporting the name was a Timely Comics creation from Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. He was a crime fighting alien from an alternate dimension. The best known version of that character first appeared in The Avengers #57 (1968). This Vision was the creation of Ultron, who programmed him to destroy Henry Pym. This android, or “synthezoid” used the brain patterns of deceased hero Wonder Man and shares a lineage with the original Human Torch. After some tinkering, the Vision became a powerful member of the Avengers, even marrying the Scarlet Witch.
THE FILMS: The Vision actually began as the voice of Tony’s Stark’s personal computer system J.A.R.V.I.S., a high-tech “butler” really. He was first heard in IRON MAN (2008), IRON MAN 2 (2010), MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012), and IRON MAN 3 (2013). In order to thwart the plans of Ultron, Tony downloaded the program into the synthetic body created by Ultron. The Vision joins the Avengers for the final battle in AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON (2015), even destroying the last remnant of the villain. In the new film, the Vision is squarely with his creator.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

6. James “Bucky” Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
THE COMICS: In Captain America Comics #1 (1941), camp mascot “Bucky” Barnes discovers Private Steve Rogers donning his costume. To assure the lad’s silence, Steve takes him on as a partner. The two fought side by side until Bucky was killed trying to defuse Baron Zemo’s drone. Cap related this to the Avengers after he was thawed out from suspended animation in Avengers # 4 (1964). It wasn’t until Captain America #1 Volume 5 (2005), that Steve learned that Bucky was not killed at the end of WWII. A Russian sub picked up his near lifeless body (his left arm was lost). Moscow scientists grafted on a powerful bionic arm and used Bucky’s amnesia to program him as an unstoppable assassin. In between missions, he was placed in cryogenic sleep, so he has only aged a few years over the past decades. Eventually Steve was able to rescue his old partner, until Bucky finally took up the shield as the new Captain.
THE FILMS: In CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, Bucky Barnes is an old childhood friend of Steve Rogers who joins the military while his pal is rejected by the draft board. After Steve is given the super soldier formula, he entertains the soldiers overseas. There he learns that Bucky’s platoon as been captured by the Red Skull. After rescuing his old pal, Bucky, along with the Howling Commandos, becomes part of Cap’s elite squadron. But during a mission to capture Dr, Emile Zola, Bucky plunges from a speeding train, as it careens through a mountain range. In CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014), Cap learns that Bucky is the feared assassin, the Winter Soldier. Seems that Zola had experimented on him during his capture. Zola’s men later found Bucky’s body in an icy river. They replaced his arm and scrambled his brains with electricity, programming him to obey orders without question. During the battle over Washington DC, Cap finally gets through to Bucky. He pulls Cap from the water and disappears. With the help of Sam Wilson, Cap vows to find him. In the trailers it seems that they do re-unite, while other heroes try to capture or destroy him.
5. Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
THE COMICS: Sam Wilson meets Cap on Exile Island in Captain America #117 (1969). While helping Cap stop the Red Skull and his war cronies, Sam receives enhanced abilities from the mysterious cosmic cube that enable him to bond with his pet falcon, Redwing. Later he constructs a uniform which enables him to fly. The three stop the Skull and return to the states as a crime-fighting team. Soon the book is re-titled Captain America and the Falcon. When not flying, Sam is a social worker in his old Harlem neighborhood. After a stint with the Avengers, Sam, like Bucky, takes up the shield to become the new Captain America.
THE FILMS: Sam meets Steve Rogers during his morning jog around DC at the start of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014). He’s a recent war vet who works with a support group at a local veteran’s facility. When Cap and the Black Widow are on the run from Hydra, Sam offers them shelter. He reveals that he was part of an elite special forces unit and pledges his help if they can grab his old equipment out of a storage facility. His old “kit” is a jet-fueled backpack that sprouts metallic wings that enable him to glide through the air, hence his old code name “Falcon”. Armed with a pair of submachine guns, Sam proves to be quite an asset. He becomes an Avenger at the conclusion of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015) and battles Scott Lang outside the Avengers HQ in ANT-MAN (2015). Sam will always be on Team Cap.
4. Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
THE COMICS: This expert archery marksman began his career on the wrong side of the law. Trying to impress his lady-love, soviet spy the Black Widow, Hawkeye battled Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #57 (1964). Clint soon realized he was being played for a fool and reformed. He begged to be an Avenger. Iron Man sponsored him and he joined the ranks in Avengers #16 (1965). For a time he put away his bow and used Pym’s growth formula to become the gigantic Goliath. Soon he went back to archery and eventually married former SHIELD agent Bobbi Morse AKA Mockingbird.
THE FILMS: We first saw SHIELD agent Barton in a cameo during THOR (2011). In MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012) his mind was controlled by Loki when he grabbed the powerful Tesseract. Later his old SHIELD partner the Black Widow breaks Loki’s spell enabling him to join the Avengers for the battle of New York. In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON he invites his fellow Avengers to the rural home he shares with his wife and children. After barely surviving the fight with Ultron in Sokovia, Clint declares that he is retiring. But when his pals are in trouble, you can bet he’ll be picking up his bow once more. In the ads, it looks as though he’ll be facing his old partner Natasha.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

3. Natasha Romanoff AKA the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
THE COMICS: Iron Man faced the “Mata-Hari” of Russia in Tales Of Suspense #52 (1964). Later she recruits the smitten Clint Barton as her partner in crime. Eventually she used her own  fighting skills, and Natasha becomes the costumed Black Widow. When she learned the truth about her late husband (he became Russia’s own super soldier the Red Guardian), the reformed enemy spy joined SHIELD. After several solo stories in Amazing Adventures, she began a long love affair with Matt Murdoch, which led to the re-titling of his comic to Daredevil and the Black Widow. Later she would lead the Avengers after a stint with another super-team The Champions.
THE FILMS: Tony Stark hired Natasha as his new personal assistant in IRON MAN 2 (2010). He was stunned when Nick Fury told him that she was an undercover SHIELD agent assigned to monitor and protect him. In MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012) she concluded a mission in order to recruit the elusive Dr. Bruce Banner. Later she used her spy skills to get some much-needed info from Loki, and helped stop the invasion of New York. She was part of another covert Nick Fury mission in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, but soon became a valuable partner to Cap during the fight against HYDRA. At the end of the film, she leaves SHIELD and releases many classified documents to the public. We learn more of her troubled past in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015) as she begins a romance with Banner (she helps calm the Hulk after battle). By the story’s end the two separate as Banner disappears. She’s conflicted, but stands with Stark.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

2. Tony Stark AKA Iron man (Robert Downey Jr)
THE COMICS: Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark’s life forever changed in Tales of Suspense #39 (1963). While checking on battlefield mini-transistors Tony is injured in an explosion and is captured by a North Vietnamese warlord. Another prisoner helped him build an iron suit that would protect his heart from shrapnel. Escaping the warlord’s camp, Tony vows to use his tech to battle evil. Over the years his armor will evolve, from bulky gray to gleaming gold to sleek red and gold. Telling the world that Iron Man is his special bodyguard. Tony will be a founding member of the Avengers.
THE FILMS: IRON MAN (2008) was the first official Marvel Studios film. It told the origin , substituting the Middle East for Vietnam. The flippant playboy inventor gets the ultimate wake-up call thanks to a plot by trusted partner Obadiah Stane. He also realizes his love for assistant Pepper Potts. After besting the Iron Monger, Tony revealed to the world that he was Iron Man. This lead to a late night visit from Nick Fury who told him of the Avengers Initiative which prompted Tony to call on General Ross in THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008). Stark signed over his company to Potts in IRON MAN 2 (2010) after defeating Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko AKA Whiplash. He pushed a nuclear missile into space in MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012), ending the battle of New York. He accidentally helped create the title menace in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015), but helped set things right with the Vision. He was haunted by images of death and destruction which led to a clash with Cap.The seeds of that conflict bloom in the new film.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2016

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2016

1. Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans)
THE COMICS: Steve was giving ole’ Adolph a sock in the jaw (several months before the US entered the war) on the cover of Captain America Comics #1 (1941). Inside was the story of how scrawny Steve Rogers was chosen as the “test subject” for Dr. Erskine’s “Super Soldier” formula. When Steve becomes a mass of muscles, a Nazi spy shoots the good doc. There will be no other “super soldiers”. After decking the spy, Steve is given the red, white, and blue uniform, along with a shield. To the world he’ll be lowly Private Rogers, but when needed he’ll change into the mighty Captain America (soon aided by teen sidekick Bucky). During the war Cap will be part of The All-Winners Squad and The Invaders. Cap is brought back into the Marvel Comics of the 1960’s when his frozen body is found in The Avengers #4 (1964). He’s been in suspended animation since 1945 (negating the post war Timely comics and the 1950’s Atlas comics failed revival). Cap soon becomes the leader of the Avengers and joins Nick Fury at the spy agency SHIELD. Later he will partner with Sam Wilson AKA the Falcon.
THE FILMS: Cap was the very first Marvel star to hit the silver screen way, way back in 1944 in Republic pictures’ fifteen chapter serial CAPTAIN AMERICA. But he wasn’t Steve Rogers, rather crusading District Attorney Grant Gardner. And there was no shield or Bucky either. They got it closer in 1990 with CAPTAIN AMERICA  starring Matt Salinger (author JD’s son). The Red Skull was there, but he was Italian (?!). And the film never got a theatrical release in the US, going straight to video. There were also two made for TV flicks in the late 1970’s starring Reb Brown. Finally Marvel Studios released CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER in 2011. They tweaked the origin just a bit from the comics. After the assassination of Dr.Erskine, Steve dons the star-spangled suit to go on a tour of local theatres, inspiring folks to buy war bonds. He’s a marketing tool! In this story he fights the Red Skull, romances Peggy Carter, and gets his round vibranium shield from Tony Stark’s dad Howard. And he ends up in the ice, waking up in modern-day NYC with Nick Fury. In MARVEL’s THE AVENGERS (2012), Steve fights Asgardian Loki while dealing with super fan Phil Coulson. Later Cap helps to protect the civilians on the streets of NYC. Loki assumes Cap’s form in order to taunt his stepbrother in THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013). In CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, Steve explores a museum exhibit dedicated to him, meets Sam Wilson, visits with Peggy one last time, and joins the Black Widow to take down the HYDRA agents in SHIELD. Cap’s on the battle lines in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON after the Scarlet Witch gives him a glimpse at a homecoming that never happened.

Wait a minute! What the hey, let’s make it sixteen!


16. Lt. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes AKA War Machine (Don Cheadle)
THE COMICS: Another element of Tony Stark’s escape from a  North Vietnamese warlord was revealed in Iron Man#118 (1979). While fleeing through the jungle in his newly constructed set of armor, Tony encountered James Rhodes, a combat pilot who had been shot down. Thanks to his help, they make it back to an American defense perimeter via a stolen enemy chopper. Back in the states Tony hires ‘Rhodey’ as his personal pilot. When Tony was battling alcoholism, Rhodey wore the Iron Man suit. Eventually he designed his own heavy weaponized version of the armor and dubbed himself the War Machine. He later joined the Avengers and become one of the founders of their affiliate, the West Coast Avengers.
THE FILMS: In the first IRON MAN (2008) feature, Terrence Howard played Tony Stark’s pal and military liaison, Lt. James Rhodes. He is one of the first people to be aware of Tony’s armored activities and strongly advises him to quit while covering for him. Don Cheadle took over the role in IRON MAN 2 (2010), wearing the modified armored suit as War Machine. When Tony took a break in IRON MAN 3 (2013),  Rhodey filled the hero void, slapping on a coat of red, white and blue paint and renaming himself the Iron Patriot. He was back as WM in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015), aiding in the fight against the metal menace and becomes a full-fledged Avenger by the story’s end. Rhodey will always be Tony’s armored ally. And that brings us to…
…that big superhero epic that’s at your multiplex. So get in line now, heroes! Movie-goers assemble!


Jim Batts was a contestant on the movie edition of TV's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2009 and has been a member of the St. Louis Film Critics organization since 2013.

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